Ejes Gist Newspaper has been reliably informed that Nigerian soldiers took cuts in the ransom paid by one of the passengers seized by bandits who intercepted a Kaduna-bound train on March 28.
Deji Oyewunmi, a manager at Iris Smart Technologies, an immigration contractor in charge of international passport printing and distribution, was one of the three victims released on Monday by armed groups after paying a N100 million ransom. The amount the other victims paid was unknown, but one of them claimed that the Buhari administration had no part in the efforts that led to his release.
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According to information obtained by The Gazette, Mr. Oyewunmi’s company raised N60 million, with the remaining N40 million coming from a group of friends and family. At least two people who were directly involved in the efforts to raise money and secure the release of the hostages described to The Gazette how Nigerian soldiers split the ransom with them.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, “after we did all the consultations and we arranged. the N100 million cash for the bandits, we met some Nigerian soldiers at several checkpoints leading to the Kajuru forests and they collected large amounts ranging from N100,000 to N220,000.” They told us outright that the bandits would understand that it was their portion of the ransom.
By the time we arrived at the bandits, “we were short about N700,000 from the N100 million,” the source continued. Since the Nigerian soldiers were laughing and making fun of us at the checkpoints for paying the bandits’ ransom, we were all ashamed that they had the audacity to openly collect their own share.
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According to a different source, some of the soldiers expressed sympathy for the mass abduction victims and their relatives, but they also noted that they had been in the trenches for months without adequate supplies.
The source claimed that some of the soldiers claimed they had been sent to guard forests in Niger, Kaduna, and other states because of bandits, but they had been given inadequate weapons and food. They claimed that military leaders had left them in the woods, where even bandits were aware of them.
Requests for comments regarding what the headquarters may have been informed about the extortion activities and welfare of soldiers stationed in the unrest-ridden North-West were not answered by a spokesman for the Nigerian Army.
Mr. Oyewunmi was “totally emaciated” after spending 119 days in custody, so he was taken right away to the hospital for proper recovery after his release on July 25. Because he had lost the ability to recognise anyone, his friends and family in Lagos were unable to see him. It was awful.
At least 64 people were kidnapped, but so far, only about 20 of them have been freed, leaving the violent groups with about 40 victims, including women and children. President Muhammadu Buhari has stated numerous times that he is working to free every prisoner, but that he is constrained by the possibility of civilian casualties in the event that the captors’ lairs are attacked by the military.
Credit : Peoples Gazette
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